Postscript: Comparative Research and the 'New World Order'

Charles Bergquist
1996 Labour History  
I SHOULD STATE at the outset that I am not a specialist on either Canada or Australia and most of what little I know about their respective labour histories I learned from reading this volume. I do have an interest in historical comparisons, however, and like the contributors to this volume I have engaged in comparison of the labour histories of former European colonies which share a common cultural and institutional legacy inherited from a single imperial power. My work has focused on Spanish
more » ... focused on Spanish America and has included comparative study of the labour movement of the one country in that region, Argentina, whose history has occasionally been the subject of formal comparisons with Canada and Australia. In this short postscript I first try to describe in very broad outline what I, as a non-specialist, take away from the reading of this detailed comparison of Australian and Canadian labour history. I then comment briefly on what my own experience with Latin American material might contribute to thinking about the Australian and Canadian comparison presented here. I end with a short statement that re-emphasizes the virtues of comparative research, especially among historians, and stresses the timeliness and utility of the comparative method adopted by the team of researchers who brought this study to completion. The aim of this postscript, in short, is to present one view of the accomplishments of the volume and to suggest some of the many ways this comparative project in particular, and comparative labour history more generally, might proceed in the future. I I will not reiterate in any detail the many comparative insights generated in these essays. These include, of course, a better and more precise understanding of what these two nation-states have in common. The commonalities of special importance to labour include, as one would expect, the similar and continuing influence of Charles Bergquist, "Postscript: Comparative Research and the 'New World Order,'" Labour/Le Travail, 38 (Fall l996)/Labor History, 71 (November 1996), 278-88.
doi:10.2307/27516456 fatcat:do62ib44wbau7ajcks2cg3jdpq